I wish I could follow a pattern and sew my own clothes. To walk the aisles in the fabric store, and choose exactly the color and texture I want. Then pick out the perfect buttons to match. It would be a perfect fit. The perfect length. Exactly what I wanted. But sadly, it will never be. I just cannot get my head around those patterns.
My mother was an amazing “sewer.” She made most of my clothes from age 8 to about 11. Our dining room table was often covered with patterns and fabrics, and the sewing machine was the kind hidden in a table, so it could stay in a corner of the room and then be closed up to look a piece of furniture. I often had the same dress in different fabrics. I remember one that I had in pink and white gingham. It had a capped ruffled sleeve with white rick rack on the edges. Then she made it again in a floral- the background was royal blue and it had red and white tiny tulips all over it. This time the sleeves were trimmed in red rick rack. My best friend told me she was crazy jealous for those dresses at the time. She informed me of this when we were already in our 30’s. Those dresses had made a big impression on her. Her mother was a “working mother” which in those days was still a bit unusual. She longed for the mother who could stay at home and sew. Meanwhile for me, I thought nothing of the fact that my mother was whipping up new dresses and skirts like nobody’s business. Here I am with my sister on the first day of school in 1967, wearing dresses my mother made (and a matching kerchief)
I had to take sewing when I was in 8th grade. It was an exercise in futility. I could not make any sense of the pattern. The bias of the fabric was a complete mystery to me. How to lay which part of the fabric on that pattern also a great challenge. We were supposed to make a skirt, with a waistband. And a zipper. I can remember the fabric distinctly as I think it was such a traumatic event for me it is ingrained in my brain forever. Oh and did I mention the skirt was supposed to fit me? Finally, after getting plenty of use out of my seam ripper, my mother stepped in to help. She was not the type to just say, “Okay, I’ll finish it for you.” She helped me repin it, and set the zipper in as it was supposed be set in, and I think she finally did finish most of that dreaded waistband. I remember being able to barely squish myself into it. And barely passed.
The possibilities seem endless when imagining the things I could create, but I have accepted that it is just not in the cards for me. Which is a good thing for Lord & Taylor and Macy’s.